The Internet has been making more people rich in the last 20 years or so than any other business platform on the planet. It’s truly extraordinary how easy it is to make money online using affiliate marketing. What is affiliate marketing you ask? The short answer is it is using you (called an affiliate) as the marketing vehicle for the millions of products out there that need buyers.
As an affiliate marketer you are essentially a salesman selling great products that you believe in or have an interest in (you can choose from literally millions of affiliate products), but there are no conventional “sales” jobs involved in selling them.
Select A Product
The first step is to select a product to promote from literally millions of products and services that exist on the Internet. There are usually 2 types of affiliate programs with similar yet different concepts. Both concepts are designed to make affiliate sales but how you get there is a little different for each.
Affiliate Program Concepts
Which one is best? They both have their place in the online marketing arena. Each affiliate needs to make that decision for themselves as to which concept serves their needs the best … The one common thread both concepts have is you will need to join whichever program you choose by providing identifying information as to who you are (name, address, email, social security number, etc.) and how you want to be paid (mailed check, direct deposit, PayPal, some programs may offer others too).
Your affiliate link is how you get paid (make a commission) for referring potential buyers to the product website. By using your affiliate link for referrals, the product website then knows which affiliate has sent the buyer to the website. If the potential buyer does in fact purchase a product from that referral, the sale is tracked and credited to the referring affiliate.
The first concept is you have a single product or service where that one item is offered by itself. Usually the author or a reseller (someone who has the rights granted by the product owner to sell the product themselves) offers an affiliate program for the product. To become an affiliate you will need to join and be assigned a unique affiliate link and password to your account. The link will both identify you as an affiliate for that product and also identify which affiliate you are so they know who to pay for a sale. You will need to keep track of what affiliate link goes with each product you sign up for as each product will have a different affiliate link.
The second concept is having one affiliate program wrapped around numerous individual products and/or services. This type of affiliate program has numerous advantages over the single product program:
Only one account for all commissions to accumulate (this is a huge advantage as you will see a little later)
One account, one password to keep track of for numerous products and services
Numerous products and services to promote with one account
New products are added regularly into the one account
High volume activity and usually a support staff exists which provides quicker support responses
No need to worry about getting paid. These sites exist by keeping their affiliates happy. This may or may not be the case for an individual running an affiliate program
“Down Side” to Affiliate Programs
There are couple of “down side” points to make about affiliate marketing. Payments for credited referral sales (earned commissions) are usually not paid right away. There are good reasons for this practice by those running affiliate programs:
When a sale is made at a website, the buyer is usually given a money-back guarantee period of time, usually 30 days, to use and evaluate the product to make sure it meets the users needs. If the buyer requests a refund of the purchase, then the affiliate also loses their commission for the sale. Payments to the affiliate are usually delayed until after the refund period has expired so the product owner is not “left holding the bag” for already paying a commission on a sale that has now been refunded.
Commissions are usually paid on a regular payment cycle, normally monthly. What you earn in one payment cycle is usually not paid until the next payment cycle. This way all commission payments can be handled at one time and is not a full time job paying daily or even weekly.
The main “down side” to affiliate marketing is that most, if not all, affiliate programs set a minimum dollar amount you must reach in commissions before they will cut you a payment. This usually ranges from $20 – $50 or more in some cases. Breaking this down in simple, easy to understand terms is best served by an example.
Say for example you sign up for an affiliate program that has a $30 minimum payout level and the product sells for $49 with a 50% commission. You do all of your work and generate a sale from your affiliate link. OK, you have made a $24.50 commission (it will actually be a little less as you are paid on the net sale, after all processing expenses are paid) … You get that paid to you on the next payment cycle, right? Not exactly … You see, your commission does not reach the $30 minimum payout the program sets before they will incur the expense of cutting you a payment.
So what now? Well, you have to wait until you make another sale to get you over the minimum before you get your commission on the first sale. This could actually carry over for months before you actually get paid. In some case, you may never reach the minimum if you do not make more than one sale. In that case, your commission remains in “limbo” forever.
And to make matters worse, this minimum payout level applies to each individual product for which you are an affiliate. Different products are owned by different people and the earned commissions for all products do NOT accumulate to get you over any minimum payout level.
Any minimum payout level problem is solved when using affiliate sites instead of individual affiliate programs (this is the huge advantage referenced earlier). Each sale you make under the umbrella of the affiliate site is accumulated into one qualifying pool so you only have to make cumulative commissions to meet the minimum payout level to get paid.
To qualify for your commissions, you could make sales of 2 different products and the earned commissions from both are combined for you to reach the minimum payout level. Yes, this is huge … Instead of having 10 different sales individually setting in 10 different affiliate programs, none of which meet the minimum for you to get paid, now you have those 10 sales commissions added together to get you over the minimum payout level and now you get paid for all 10. I hope you see the huge advantage the umbrella type of affiliate programs offer.
How To Get Your Affiliate Link Online
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that unlike a salesman in the real world, you are not trying to convince anyone of anything. You just register a domain (which is recommended but not required) and put up a product review minisite, a one page website that describes and promotes all the features and benefits of the product being promoted.
Although a product review site is recommended for the best results, it does require that you do have some web space on the Internet. Hosting accounts are available for just a few dollars a month so this should be within anyone’s reach that has a true desire to be an affiliate. Many review sites can be placed on one hosting account. In fact you could well have thousands of review sites on one hosting account.
If you do not want to create product review sites, there are alternatives. Some affiliate sites offer you pre-made products and websites and are available for free for your use if you join their affiliate program.
Promoting Your Product
The seller in essence does all the conversion work; you just have to send targeted traffic to the sales page.
Here are a few ways to promote your affiliate link:
Article Marketing: Write an article describing the features and benefits of the product
eMail Marketing: Use your article as an advertisement in ezines or mailing lists
Classified Ads: These are available all over the Internet for free
Pay Per Click Marketing: Choose the best place for your ads
Many of the larger affiliate sites offer training and promotional materials for your use for free
You are only limited by your imagination on how to market your affiliate link. Be creative. Step “outside the box” and create a new way that works for you. You can also research Online Marketing by searching the Internet. Online Marketing is a huge field and there are tons of informational products already written on the subject. Take advantage of that and you are on your way to financial freedom.
Affiliate marketing is all about making money for both parties and often the commissions on sales (buyers you send to the site through your affiliate link) are 50% or higher! Some of the better affiliate programs pay as high as an 80% commission on every sale you make.
Although the product owner handles the product delivery, customer service and virtually everything else beyond your referring targeted potential buyers to them, including overhead, you get paid the same amount if not more as they do on the sale! Your only overhead is your domain (usually under $10 a year) and web space (a few dollars per month) if you decide to do review sites.
You can use the many free advertising venues such as online classified ads, article submission sites and more to refer traffic to your affiliate link site, however you would be missing out on building a much higher income potential because you would not be able to push these articles up in the search engine rankings as easily as if you had a domain. Getting traffic from search engines is the gold mine of affiliate marketing!
Thank you for your time and interest in learning more about affiliate marketing. Choose your affiliate programs and products carefully and wisely. We hope we have provided some insight into what to expect if you decide to enter the affiliate marketing arena. We wish you the best in planning your strategies and implementing your plan.
Just remember, if you keep doing what you are doing now, you can expect to keep getting the same results. We urge you to challenge yourself, move off your comfort zone and try something new. It can be very rewarding both in satisfaction and financially…
You do not have to want to become a full time marketer to enjoy affiliate marketing. Use it for a little extra Christmas money or to put a little spending money in your pocket you can just blow on something you have been wanting.
Step “outside the box” and give it your best shot.
All of the affiliate program features mentioned in this article (and many, many more) are available at the Affiliate Success For Life [http://www.affiliate-success-for-life.com] website. We provide hundreds of products for affiliates to choose from in over 150+ categories. Pick one, pick them all. They are sitting there waiting for you to join us and begin or expand your affiliate marketing with a top-notch affiliate provider. We add products regularly as well as a continually expanding list of features such as pre-made websites, training, ad tracking, affiliate discounts, a product storefront and free promotional resources. Optional add on features such as add your picture, pay per click advertising and promotional ad writing. We have a unique and different program that we challenge you to find anywhere else on the Internet. We will even compensate you for writing promotional ads if you are so inclined or post your testimonial to our home page for some free advertising for you. We encourage our affiliates to offer suggestions on how to make things better for everyone … and yes, we do listen. Come by and give us a try, we think you will like what you find…
Within this article, you will discover and learn 7 proven tactics in affiliate marketing business in order to ensure that you will stay in the affiliate marketing business and outstanding among other affiliates.
1. Conduct the fixed affiliate marketing business plan. There is no doubt that planning is the first critical factor for all business in the world. It will save your time and money. The undo and redo tasks will be minimized. Also, you will have more time to grow your affiliate business when you have your own fixed affiliate marketing plan. Surprisingly, I have found that several affiliate marketing entrepreneurs have their own fixed affiliate marketing business plan. This business plan is a must for all affiliate marketing entrepreneurs who are looking for how to go step forward to their competitors and grow their business. It is an absolutely great affiliate marketing ideas to come up with the fixed daily business plan. The great affiliate marketing tips for this tactic is to start planning monthly, weekly and daily for your affiliate business.
2. Come up with aggressive affiliate marketing ideas. There are many affiliate marketing ideas, techniques or strategies to earn more affiliate commission on the internet. The aggressive affiliate marketing ideas is one of the most effective ways to gain more sales and build highly profitable affiliate marketing business. The real key to your success in this proven tactics in affiliate marketing is to keep advertising your affiliate products consistency with several of marketing techniques. My experiences show that you will reach a wider range of customers and earn more affiliate sales with this proven tactics. For example, you can keep advertising your affiliate products through email marketing. The aggressive idea is to keep sending quality emails (i.e. follow-up message or broadcast emails) to your subscribers to advertise your affiliate products.
3. Combine your affiliate marketing ideas. This proven tactic is very powerful in the affiliate marketing particularly for building highly profitable home based affiliate business in long term. All you have to do for the proven tactics in your affiliate marketing business is to think. Creativity mindset is one of the key successes of this tactics. For example, you can apply email marketing with the article marketing by sending a high quality and fully articles to your subscribers. With those fully articles, you can lead readers to your website or reprint your articles on their websites.
4. Automate your affiliate marketing business with tools. With the daily business tasks in affiliate marketing, you will have no time to think and grow your affiliate business. My highest recommendation is to find an automated software or tool to help you to deliver automatically services or products. Obviously, for example, the auto-responder software is a must for all affiliates to deliver their email, newsletter or promotion information to their subscribers. With this auto-responder software, you can send and reply email automatically to your subscribers or even customers. I am sure that with those kinds of automated software, you will release yourself from daily business as usual task and will have more time to grow your affiliate marketing business.
5. Protect your affiliate commission and business. There are many hackers and crackers on the internet. It is an absolutely great affiliate marketing ideas to protect your affiliate commission and business with software. With that software, you will ensure that your affiliate commission will not be stolen by third parties on the internet. There are many link protections, prevention and convert software for your affiliate links on the internet. Another example of protecting your home based affiliate business is to backup your important information and list. This is a must for affiliates to ensure that those affiliate marketing business will not be lose in any situations.
6. Offer great incentives and bonuses. There are no doubt that if there are two affiliate marketing entrepreneurs who are promoting the same affiliate products in the same industry, the winner is a person who offers better incentives and bonuses to potential customers. The examples of great incentives and bonuses could be: a package of software, a set of special reports, superb additional services and great books. The great affiliate marketing ideas to find the bonuses are: to find resell products and to conduct special reports.
7. Spy on your competitors. Keeping your eyes on your competitors is the powerful and proven tactic in affiliate marketing business. You can start spying your competitors by subscribing their newsletter or buying their products, if they have. Other great examples are: to spy their keywords and history of changing websites. There are many spy keyword tools or tracking website software on the internet to spy on your competitors. Personally, I believe that this tactics has been proven and it is a great alternative approach in affiliate marketing business.
Final thoughts, it is obvious that you can be apart from your competitors with those above 7 proven tactics in affiliate marketing. Importantly, the first key of your success is to come up with the fixed affiliate marketing business plan. Then, all you have to do is to take those tactics into your affiliate marketing promotion plan now. You will see great results in the long run. And you will success in the affiliate marketing business.
Image is courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Chad Hamzeh, the creator of Traffic Black Book, goes in to great detain on making money with Affiliate Marketing. In this webinar you will learn how to make more money than most affiliates with a few unique techniques.
Invented by CDNow.com at the end of 1994 and pioneered by Amazon.com in 1996, “affiliate programs”, also known as Associate Programs or Partner Programs, are a simple way for Web sites to generate revenue by directing traffic toward other sites and a great way for the operating site to increase its traffic and revenue.
Because affiliate programs are so convenient and work so well, they have become the industry’s dominant method of online Marketing.
There are 4 different kinds of affiliate programs to compensate “Affiliates” (or referring sites) for generating traffic to the Affiliate Program operating Website: Pay-Per-Impression, Pay-Per-Click, Pay-Per-Lead and Pay-Per-Sale.
The Pay-Per-Impression and Pay-Per-Click Model are not common to be used in Affiliate Marketing anymore. They were used in the Past, but were mostly abandoned due to Fraud and lack of Results.
The CPM (cost-per-impression) compensation Model was revived by Google for Google AdWords in summer 2005. The feature is called “Site-Targeting” in AdWords and allows you to display your AdSense Ad on a specific Website that runs AdSense Ads.
Pay-Per-Click (CPC) Model
Like the Pay-per-Impression model was the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Model popular during the dot com boom at the end of the 1990th but was mostly abandoned by Advertisers for Advertisements on other Websites due to rampart problems with click fraud.
The PPC Model was kept alive by the PPC Search Engine GoTo.com which became later Overture.com and is now owned by Yahoo! and renamed from “Yahoo Sponsored Search” to Yahoo Search Marketing.
Google launched their PPC Service AdWords in 2000. Ask Jeeves, now simply Ask.com followed with their PPC Service in 2005 called Ask Sponsored Listings and MSN.com in 2006 with AdCenter. Other PPC Services are Miva/FindWhat.com and 7Search.com.
The big come-back of PPC came when Google launched AdSense in 2003, the birth of contextual Advertising. What is Google AdSense? Here is a quote from Google’s History at Google’s corporate Website.
Google AdSense: “… offering web sites of all sizes a way to easily generate revenue through placement of highly targeted ads adjacent to their content. Google AdSense technology analyzes the text on any given page and delivers ads that are appropriate and relevant, increasing the usefulness of the page and the likelihood that those viewing it will actually click on the advertising presented there.”
Yahoo’s Version of AdSense called Yahoo! Publisher Network was launched (beta) in 2005. Microsoft is also working on their own Version of AdSense which is expected to be launched (beta) in 2006.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Classic PPC Search Engine Marketing (Cost-Per-Click (CPC) advertising) is not Affiliate Marketing. It is an entirely different type of Internet Marketing and only has some technical details in common with old PPC/CPC Affiliate Marketing.
Ads are primarily displayed at the Search Engine Search Results Pages (SERPs) next to organic, free, Search Results. Contextual Advertising introduced with Google AdSense is also not Affiliate Marketing since no direct Partnership between the Advertiser who creates and pays for the Ads and the Publisher who displays the Ads on his Website.
This type of Marketing is generally referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and is often and wrongly mixed up and confused with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is about improving the ranking of a Site in the organic, free, SERPs at major Search Engines via technical means and deep understanding of the complicated ranking algorithms used by modern Search Engines.
Pay-Per-Call Advertising is neither Search Engine Marketing (SEM) nor Affiliate Marketing. Recently developed call-tracking technology allows to create a bridge between online and offline Advertising. Pay-Per-Call Advertising is still new and in it’s infancy. It is expected to become the 4th major type of Internet Marketing next to Affiliate Marketing, Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization within the next years.
The Affiliate Marketing shifted almost entirely to the Pay-Per-Lead (CPA or CPL) and Pay-Per-Sale Model (CPS) which is also known as Performance Marketing. The paid commission is usually a percentage of the referred sales or a flat dollar amount.
The Pay-Per-Lead (CPA or CPL) Model
The Advertiser pays Affiliates a Flat Amount Commission if a referred visitor performs a specific action on the Advertisers Site. It could be Actions like filling out a Form, Signing up for a Newsletter or Creating an Account.
The CPA Model is very popular with Online Services like Credit Card Providers, Insurance Services, DVD and Video Game Rental Services and Loans and Mortgages. Due to the usual high flat commission amount is the CPA very attractive for PPC Affiliates that do not have a permanent Website and an established User Base.
Before you consider the CPA Model for you problem, make sure to have mechanisms in place to validate the quality of referred leads. Your program will be vulnerable to become a victim of fraud, affiliates that generate tons of “fake” leads if you do not have anything in place to verify the quality of the produced leads.
The Pay-Per-Sale (CPS) Model
This Model is used by most Online Merchants today. The Merchant pays a percentage of the Order Amount that was created by a customer who was referred by an Affiliate.
Do not pay commissions that you end up losing money on an order. You will gain new customers because of the Affiliate Program, but you will also pay commissions for returning customers.
Shoppers on the internet are more savvy today. Comparison Shopping Sites, Coupon Sites, Cash-Back Shopping and Charity Sites, that make up a large percentage of successful affiliates, are often visited by Shoppers first. See the Affiliate Program also as a Customer Retention Tool.
CPA or CPS?
If your competitors have affiliate programs and you don’t, chances are good, that you are losing a considerable amount of business to them, because the lag of an affiliate program for your site.
If you want to use an Affiliate Program as an Online Merchant for the whole purpose of customer acquisition, consider the CPA Model and pay a flat commission for new customers referrer by affiliates.
Do the math to come up with a Flat Commission that makes it worthwhile for affiliates to promote you. Affiliates are not waiting for you, the next Merchant that has a Program is only one click away.
What you do and what commission you pay is up to you. You can also mix compensation models. The best thing to do is always to check first what your competitors are doing and use their compensation model as reference.
Pay-Per-Sale is by far the most common compensation model. 2/3 to 3/4 of all Affiliate Programs today are Pay-per-Sale Programs. The operating Site only pays “Commission” to their Affiliates for actual Results (a Sale, Sign-up etc.) and not just for promises (Clickthroughs, Banner Impressions).
Operating an affiliate program to drive traffic to your website has never been easier. Most Sites utilize 3rd Party Services (so called Affiliate Networks). Those Services provide the infrastructure for you to track all the traffic and referrals to your Website.
Networks also work as a Recruiting Platform to find Websites willing to promote your Products or Services. The Integration of their Service usually takes just a few days or sometimes just a few hours.
Some of the Networks also help you to keep the generated overhead low (such as Payment of the Affiliates).
Networks usually charge 20-30% of the commission you pay to Affiliates as Fee to you. If the Fee is 25% for example and you pay 10% commission per Sale to you Affiliate, you must pay $12.5 in commission and fee for a $100 Sale.
In-House Affiliate Program Solutions and Software
You might want to have more control over your Affiliate Program and avoid the Network fees by running the program In-House.
You can, of course, develop all the necessary tools and technology by yourself, but that is may be not very cost effective and not as easy as it seems.
The technology has already been developed by various Affiliate Tracking Solution Providers and Software Packages.
They are most of the time easy to plug into your existing Sites and have already proven themselves. Be careful with too small or too new Solution and Software Provoiders.
Check the Background of the Company you consider first. Do your diligence!
Outsourcing – Outsourced Program Management (OPM)
When you have your Program up and running, the first and important step was done. Now begins the complicated part starts.
The Wild West of Affiliate Marketing when quick and easy money was made and having an Affiliate Program running on “Auto Drive” generated a huge increase in sales by affiliates that sought out programs and did everything themselves without the need of support and guidance is over. Business on the internet matured and Affiliate Marketing as well.
An Affiliate Program requires attention. To get active and quality affiliates requires active recruitment efforts. Support of existing affiliates also became vital. A clear set of Rules, the Affiliate Agreement, must be worked out and be enforced.
Allocate Resources to the program and don’t do it on the side.
Your program is destined to fail if you don’t spend the required resources and time for your program.
If you don’t have the resources in-house, consider outsourcing of your program management (OPM). There are today a number of quality service companies available that are specialized in this.
Thousands of Websites operating their Affiliate Program successfully today, prove, that Affiliate Marketing is the most cost effective and efficient way to promote your products and services on the World Wide Web.
Affiliate Marketing guarantees a fast ROI (Return of Investment) and for some Online Merchants and Services are the Sales generated through the Affiliate Channel making up a considerable percentage of their total online Revenue.
CPA – Cost per Action
CPC – Cost per Click
CPL – Cost per Lead
CPM – Cost per (Mil) Impression (1000 Impressions)
CPS – Cost per Sale
CR – Conversion Rate
CTR – Click through rate
DRM – Dynamic Rich Media (type of Ad, technology). It has nothing to do with DRM as in Digital Rights Management
EPC – Earnings per Click / Earnings per 100 Clicks
OPM – Outsourced (Affiliate) Program Management
PPC – Pay per Click
ROI – Return of Investment
SE – Search Engines
SEM – Search Engine Marketing
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
SERP – Search Engine Result Page
SID – URL Parameter the Affiliate can pass to get tracked with Sales and Leads
Abbreviations of Websites you will come across
ABW – ABestWeb – Affiliate Marketing Forum
CJ – Commission Junction – Affiliate Network
LS – Linkshare – Affiliate Network
MyAP – My Affiliate Program – In-House Program Solution
PF – Performics – Affiliate Netwok
SAS – ShareASale – Affiliate Network
SEW – Search Engine Watch – News and Resources
SR – Share Results – Affiliate Network
TW – Thread Watch – Internet Marketing News Discussions